CITY GUIDE 2020
SETTING UP • DÉCOR • THINGS TO DO • SCHOOLS • HEALTHCARE • DINING
Cluny Court Exploring
Located just across from the beautiful Botanic Gardens, popular boutique shopping centre Cluny Court features an eclectic selection of lifestyle, fashion and dining across two levels. Here are some of our top picks!
THE LINENS COMPANY (#02-28) Spruce up your bedroom with something from this chic outlet, which features a wide selection of beautiful home living essentials. Along with luxury linens from around the world, you’ll find bedding and bathroom accessories, home fragrances and more. 6235 6230 FB & IG @TheLinensCompany
HOPLA! KIDS SHOE SHOP (#02-23) There’s a wide range of kids’ shoes here, including top-quality European brands and black leather school shoes up to EU size 40. Also, check out the Cienta and Victoria canvas shoes for adults – they’re made with organic cotton, and are cool and comfortable
for Singapore’s climate. 6717 4811 | hopla.sg
LEVEL 1 Bar Bar Black Sheep Cold Storage (24Hr) Da Paolo Gastronomia EGA Juice Clinic Jeeves Plain Vanilla Bakery Singapore Ixora The Affogato Bar The Fishwives The Source Bulk Foods
ROSALIE POMPON (#02-11) This popular boutique offers a variety of casual but chic European brands, with fashions covering everything from daily basics to items that will last a lifetime. There’s also a curated collection for men. 6463 5347 | rosaliepompon.com
CHANGE LINGERIE (#02-08) This is a Danish lingerie salon for voluptuous ladies. With its professional bra fitters, you can find sizes from 60C to 95G, and in sexy, basic, sporty and maternity styles. There’s also swimwear that flatters and hugs bigger body shapes. 9321 1344 | change.com
LEVEL 2 101Caffé Alfie Browns Big Blue Trunk Capsule by Juliette Change Lingerie Cluny Court Family Dental Groovy Gifts & Gorgeous Gifts
Hanna Lee Accessories Hopla! Kids Shoe Shop Hydrogen Lemongrass & Aubergine Mo Li Hua Vintage Watches & Jewelry Morning June The Room by Nail Bar @ Cluny PARIS &ME Relish by Wild Rocket Rosalie Pompon
MORNING JUNE (#02-06) With its tropical vibe, Morning June offers unique handmade jewellery and beautiful Spanish espadrilles – also handmade – from Badt and Co. There’s also a stunning selection of clothes in organic cottons, plus bags and decorative items. 8608 9115 | morning-june.com
SIMPLY BREAD (#02-07) Drop by Simply Bread for a coffee and a baked treat, or take home one of their loaves or other goodies, from Rustic Whites, Multigrains and Rolls, to Coconut Buns, Raisin Rolls, Pains au Chocolat and Croissants. 6763 2628 fb.com/SimplyBreadatCluny
Simone Irani Simply Bread Sugar K Organic Peel Bar SPRMRKT The Big Blow The Children’s Showcase The Elly Store The Hair Lounge The Linens Company The Master Hair Salon Toyko Ethical Style (T.E.S.) Treasure Links
Bukit Timah Road
THE FISHWIVES (#01-05B) Fuel your clean-eating lifestyle at The Fishwives with the store’s broad range of “no nasties” meats and seafood. These are complemented by a selection of pantry staples, condiments and more. 6464 8384 | thefishwives.com
MO LI HUA VINTAGE WATCHES & JEWELRY (#02-29) This boutique carries an extensive line-up of watches from Rolex, Cartier, Omega, Seiko and more, alongside a specially curated range of jewellery. 9621 9453 | molihuawj.com
Botanic Gardens MRT
Farrer Road Flyover
Visit www.clunycourt.com for more details.
Are you newly arrived, still on your way to Singapore, or been living here for a long time and need an update? If you’re any of these, you’re in the right place! Long-timers will probably still remember when they arrived here with a suitcase for “a year or two”. I came with a baby, a toddler and four suitcases, and here I am, 22 years later! So, my advice is to get things right when you buy the first time round. Get that comfortable mattress with the great guarantee. Buy the good vintage coffee table over a piece of veneer. Convert your driving licence – even if you’re not planning on having a car yet. Find a good dentist! We have info on all of the above in our City Guide – and much more, too, from some of the great parks and places to walk and run, to the best of Singapore’s cultural side, plus tips for dining out, shopping highlights, and the essential question of where to send the kids to school. You’ll also find loads of fun trivia and a giant quiz! Most importantly, we share the views and preferences of an unbiased panel of expats who range in backgrounds and length of time “on the ground”. If you’re fresh off the boat, or you’ve been here a while but don’t feel you’ve really made the most of Singapore yet, Expat Living has been helping people like you for over 17 years. We’ve done that through annual guides like this one, our regular monthly magazine (sign up at email@example.com), and our constantly updated website, expatliving.sg, which is packed with features, advice and event information. Now, it’s time to learn and live Singapore!
REBECCA BISSET Editor-in-Chief
Singapore’s not just buildings and bars – there’s quite a bit of open space if you look for it!
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SETTINGUP •DÉCOR • THINGS TODO • SCHOOLS •HEALTHCARE •DINING
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In this annual CityGuide we give you an overview of life in Singapore to help you on your way! But remember, for updates and instant access when you’re out and about, we also have endless amounts of information on our site! Frompeople’s reviews of their neighbourhoods and where to get good blonde highlights ( very important) towhere towatch the sun go down, expatliving.sg is really all you need!
CITY GUIDE 2020/21
MCI (P)064/06/2019 Annual$6.90
SETTING UP • HOME DÉCOR • THINGS TO DO • SCHOOLS • HEALTHCARE • DINING
A FEWOF OUR GREAT ONLINE FEATURES:
• 35 cool and fun things to do in Singapore • Top websites for getting your groceries • The expat’s guide to where to live in Singapore • Escapes: Top Singapore staycations • Best hair salons in Singapore – we round up our favourites! • Furniture shops for buying online or in store • We review the best facials in Singapore • Great breakfast spots on the island! • 10 cool things for teens to do in Singapore • Fab gyms to help you get fit! • Where to watch the sunset • Best parks for a picnic • Singles guide: Top bars for meeting people
... and that’s just for starters!
For more handy guides and tips, visit expatliving.sg
19 Singapore Hacks // Your basic survival guide Learn everything you need to know about your new home, from some of the challenges facing newcomers, to transport options, networking, finding friends, hiring a helper, and looking for work
63 Find Your Home // Navigate the island The all-important question is where to live! Find out more about the various neighbourhoods and housing options, from high- rise apartments to garden homes in the suburbs.
91 Design Your Space // Furniture and interior inspiration Once you’ve found your perfect property, you’ll want to spruce it up and make it your own. Get interior design tips and furniture shopping recommendations to suit your style and budget.
115 Learn & Play // Education options for kids of all ages
Schooling in Singapore is world- class, and children get the opportunity to learn in culturally diverse environments with fantastic extracurricular activities. Hear more about the range of preschools, schools and other educational institutions so you can make the right choice for your child.
225 Let ’ s Eat // Hot cafés, restaurants and bars hawker favourites to champagne brunches. Go here for restaurant recommendations, foodie tips and other advice for the curious or just the plain hungry! In Singapore, there are some amazing foods to try, from
171 Happy & Healthy // Stay well, inside and out The fact that many people travel to Singapore just to have medical treatment says something about the island’s state-of-the-art hospitals and services. Whether you’re looking for a dentist or a counsellor, there’s expert medical help at hand.
197 Recharge & Unwind // Retail therapy and tips for exploring From shopping tips around the island to info on parks, museums, temples, galleries and other things to see – plus, some ideas for getting away – you’ll find it all in this section.
For the latest updates, find us on facebook or follow us on instagram @expatlivingsg
Your Basic Survival Guide
Bukit Timah means “tin hill” in Malay. What does Bukit Merah mean? Which one of the following is not one of Singapore’s main agricultural exports: orchids, ornamental fish, bananas or rubber? What’s the name of the oldest hawker centre in Singapore? I n 2009 , wha t c aus ed s i gn i f i c an t dama g e t o Singapore’s main Merlion statue near Marina Bay? A Singapura is a breed of what type of animal? Singapore has the world’s second-busiest port in terms of total shipping tonnage, behind which city? Which plant, known for its massive flowers and disgusting aroma, takes its name from the founder of Singapore? Old Chang Kee is best known for what type of snack? True or false: Singapore is also the name of a “ghost town” in the US state of Michigan. What does the “C” stand for in CHIJMES? When Barack Obama visited Singapore in 2016, what local dish did he reference in his introductory remarks? (Hint: it starts with “r”.) What are Singapore’s four official languages? What’s the most common type of monkey found in Singapore? What’s another term for S i ng apo re ’s Pe r anakan community?
THE GREAT CITY GUIDE
Find out how much you really know about your current home! Whether you’re a newbie or an old hand, you’ll discover plenty of twists and turns in our Singapore trivia challenge. See how many questions you can answer correctly out of 55. (And, as a bonus, tell us why the number 55 is significant to Singapore in 2020…)
Which two prominent world leaders met at the “Singapore Summit” of 12 June 2018? How many Oriental Pied Hornbills are thought to inhabit the island: between 60 and 100; approximately 1,700; or between 800 and 900? What would you get if you asked for a cup of teh halia in a Singapore kopitiam ? Name the 2018 smash- hit Hollywood film set in Singapore. Singapore and which two other places are the world’s only surviving city-states? Wha t c o l ou r s a r e t he Singapore $5 and $10 notes respectively? Singapore’s first MRT station, Toa Payoh, opened in what decade? In 2016, at the Rio Games, J os eph Schoo l i ng won Singapore’s first (and, to date, only) Olympic Gold medal. What was the event?
Which side of Singapore is hotter and drier, the east or the west? Which of these is not an attraction at Universal Studios: Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure; The Singapore Sling & Spin; Puss in Boots’ Giant Journey; or Battlestar Galactica: CYLON? Which island just off Singapore’s coast is said to have been formed by an elephant and a pig turning to stone? Approximately how many passengers pass through Changi Airport each year (except in 2020, of course!): 60 million, 600 million or 6 billion? Name any one of the three most common surnames in Singapore. In what year did Singapore host the first-ever night-time Formula 1 Championship race, or Grand Prix?
What MRT stations have the anagrams Nacho Twin, Lacquer Yak and Siri Raps? The top three films in the list of the highest-grossing Ho l l y wo o d f i l m s i n Singapore box-office history are all sequels of which 2012 film that occupies fourth spot? What type of large animal escaped Singapore Zoo in 1974 and spent almost two months hanging out in the Seletar Reservoir? In which year did Lee Kuan Yew step down as Prime Minister? Which of the following teams does not play in the Singapore Premier League: Tampines Rovers, Hougang United or the Bukit Timah Bears? Howmany stars canbe found on the Singapore flag? Keep an eye out for the Puzzle Pages in each month’s Expat Living magazine, and visit expatliving.sg for dozens of trivia quizzes on every topic under the sun!
What’s the coldest temperature ever recorded in Singapore: 21.6, 19.4 or 15.8 degrees Celsius? What Singlish word refers to the practice of claiming a spot at a food centre by leaving a packet of tissues on a table? The Facebook co-founder who has lived in Singapore since 2009 is Eduardo who? What tasty-sounding road is Singapore’s longest? What is the most widely practiced religion in Singapore? Is Singapore in the southern or northern hemisphere? Approximately howmany high- rise buildings does Singapore have: 180; 965; or 4,300? In what year did Singapore’s “nightsoil” sanitation system (collecting buckets fromold-style latrines) come to an end: 1894, 1951 or 1987? Whichprominent world leader of the day described the surrender of Singapore’s British forces to the Japanese in 1942 as “the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history”? “ Shiok ” is a Singlish word used to describe something that is dangerous, hilarious or delicious? Howmany islandsdoesSingapore consist of: 7; 39; or 64? If you stretched all of Singapore’s roads end to end, would they reach Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong or the Moon? The former name of which Singapore location translates as “the island of death from behind”?
The Istana is the official r e s i d e n c e o f w h i c h Singaporean official? What Singapore attraction was renovated in 2008 – at great expense – after feng shui experts deemed it was moving in an unlucky direction? Which ingredient is not found in a traditional Singapore Sling: gin, pineapple juice, olives or cherry brandy? What is the oldest building still standing in Singapore: the Sultan Mosque, Sri Mariamman Temple or Old Parliament House? Approximately how many vehicles use the Johor- Singapore causeway each day, on a normal working day: 6,000, 60,000 or 600,000? Is Chingay the name of a suburb in the far northwest of Singapore, a rare variety of orchid in the Botanic Gardens, or a street festival? D24, Mao Shan Wang and Golden Phoenix are all varieties of what popular (and unpopular!) item for sale in Singapore?
#37 What does PAP stand for? #38
55 is significant because 2020 marks Singapore’s 55th birthday as a nation.
55 . Five Bonus
54 . Bukit Timah Bears
the longest-serving Prime Minister in the world)
Avengers 52 . A hippopotamus named Congo
53 . 1990 (at the time, he had become
39 . 43 . The 51 . The
50 . Chinatown, Clarke Quay, Pasir Ris
49 . Durian
48 . Street festival
47 . 60,000
45 . Olives 46 . Old Parliament House
44 . The Singapore Flyer
President of Singapore
42 . Sentosa
40 . Sixty- four 41 . Hong Kong (3,000km approximately)
38 . Sir Winston Churchill
36 . 1987 37 . People’s Action Party
35 . 4,300
34 . Northern (just! It’s 137km north of the
percent); Christianity is around 18 percent
Chinese or Baba-Nyonya Saverin 32 . PIE (Pan-Island Expressway, 42.8km)
33 . Buddhism (approximately 33
31 . Eduardo
30 . Chope
29 . 19.4 degrees, recorded in 1934
28 . Straits-born
27 . Long-tailed macaque
25 . Rojak (he was referring to Singapore’s mix of races, religions and creeds) 26 . English, Chinese, Tamil and Malay
22 . Curry puffs 23 . True 24 . Convent (of the Holy Infant Jesus Middle Education School)
16 . Bananas 21 . Rafflesia
19 . Cat 20 . Shanghai,
18 . Lightning
17 . Lau Pa Sat (established 1825)
15 . Red hill
10 . Crazy Rich Asians 14 . 100 metres butterfly
9 . Ginger tea 13 . 1980s (1985)
City 12 . Green and red
11 . Monaco and the Vatican
Between 60 and 100
6 . 2008 7 . US President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un
5 . Tan, Lim, Lee
4 . Sixty million
3 . Pulau Ubin
1 . East 2 . The Singapore Sling & Spin
It can be a real challenge adjusting to a new environment, whether you’ve just moved to Singapore or you’re planning to relocate here. That’s whywe’re here to help! Hear from seven expat readers who makeup this year’sPanel. You’ll find their tips and recommendations dotted throughout our Guide.
Brit Danielle Sharpe relocated with her husband to Singapore in February 2020 – what a time to do so! They managed to get a few weeks of exploring before being locked in due to COVID-19, but they’ve certainly made the most of being out and about since. Danielle works in the financial crime and banking sector, and it was her job that brought them here. They pursued the dream of expat life and have certainly not looked back.
2 8 - y e a r - o l d A u s s i e CatherineMacLean moved to Singapore from Penang, Malaysia, in August 2019. For her, arriving alonewasn’t too intimidating, thanks to her wonderful cousins who well and truly knowall there is to know about Singapore – as well as the 2019 edition of this City Guide that they gifted her! She’s currently teaching physical education at an international school. In her free time, she loves exploring all the things to eat and places to go on this little red dot.
Sherawaye Hagger is a feminist, mother of two boys, Public Relations Director and an ultimate dreamer. She has lived and worked in London and Sydney, but for now she calls Singapore home. She’s a proud Londoner who will always be addicted to Soho House Picantes and RuPaul’s Drag Race !
36-year-old Marwa Abdelhaleem is a Canadian citizen of Egyptian descent. The Pre-K teacher at the Canadian International School moved to Singapore with her son just a little over a year ago and says that her time here has been fantastic.
S a s h a C o n l a n , founder of online fine foods company Sasha’s Fine Foods, moved from London to Singapore with her family in 2008. She’s been married for 20 years to Jonny, who she says is a wonderfully kind man who deserves a medal for putting up
with her for so long! They have three kids and her eldest is heading off to university this year. She started Sasha’s Fine Foods in 2011, importing clean, ethically produced meat and seafood from around the world. Today, the company is a team of 35, delivering hundreds of orders a week to families across the island.
Australian Alison Long moved here fromSydney in December 2019 with her husband and two daughters, l e a v i n g b e h i n d her role as head of strategy execution at an Australian corporate. Currently, she’s studying remotely with MIT Sloan; she
also helped out with a few projects to support foreign domestic workers during the Circuit Breaker period. With her family, Alison has enjoyed exploring the diverse food offerings Singapore has, attempting to hike through the long list of beautiful parks, and catching up with both international and local friends they’ve made here. Alison has always wanted to provide her children an opportunity to experience a different culture and make themmore globally aware, and the move to Singapore has definitely helped her achieve that.
Dane Michelle Kristensen is a 27-year- old professional with a master’s degree in international relations. She’s currently working at a non-profit organisation focused on assisting foreign businesses in Singapore. She moved here in the summer of 2019 with her partner after he was offered and accepted a job here.
What three things would you advise any newcomer coming to live in Singapore? If you’re coming together with your partner, being married will make things much less stressful. A few of our unmarried friends lost their jobs during the pandemic and weren’t able to find another role within the Short Term Visit Pass timeline, which meant that one person had to go back home while the other was here in Singapore. Equally, even in a non-COVID time, getting a role while on a tourist visa is tough and many of the friends we’ve met in Singapore have told stories of being stopped at the border for coming to and fro every few months. Be prepared to put yourself out there to meet people. Start talking to that expat couple on the table next to you, chat to people by the pool and say yes to group outings, even if you don’t really know them! We have found the expat community to be really inviting and have seen the pandemic situation (being locked in Singapore) as a real blessing on this front – everyone is stuck in the same place and wants to do things. Make the most of it! Bring lots of gymwear and light clothing, as you will sweat a lot. But it’s totally normal as everyone is in the same boat. Danielle If you have young kids, research well and choose a condo or cluster over a landed house. They’re brilliant for making friends in the community. Regardless of what you hear, don’t fret about schools – they’re all pretty fantastic. Also, don’t get suckered in to buying packages when you go for your first mani or pedi! Sasha
Take advantage of the beautiful parks. Mosquito repellent is a must. And keep an umbrella handy at all times! Marwa
Join a sports club to meet people, as well as some of the Facebook expat groups for second-hand furniture and answers to most questions. Don’t let day-to-day life prevent you from actually going out and experiencing all that Singapore has to offer. Catherine
Invest some time into thinking about where you would want to live in Singapore – whether you’d like to be close to attractions, your kids’ school or the central business district – and rent accordingly. Singapore is a great place to meet new friends, especially if you put in some effort and be open to new experiences and people from different walks of life. Finally, if there are things that you love from home, buy lots of it and bring it with you. Sometimes they run out of Vegemite in stores! Alison
Diversify your tribe; don’t just hang out with expats. Find locals and other people from this part of the world, and get different points of view as it really helps you to understand the current climate. Online shopping is not the same as in the UK. If an Amazon-style delivery (24-hour delivery on anything) is your thing, then be prepared to adapt. Amazon Prime exists here but not in the same way. Shopee and Lazada are the nearest substitutes, but it took me a while to get used to waiting five to 10 days for delivery. Finally, remember why you came here. Don’t lose focus on it. I sometimes hear expats lightly complain of life here and personally I find it hard to listen to. It’s a privilege to live here and once it doesn’t feel like a privilege it’s time to do something about it. Sherawaye
I would advise anyone moving to Singapore to do some research on what to expect to avoid surprises. If you’re a newcomer, check whether there’s a local community of your peers. For myself, I enjoy being a part of the small Danish society here as the common ground allows for easy talk and there’s a lot of good advice from fellow expats, especially if they share your nationality. Lastly, give it time. If this is your first time living abroad, allow for some time to settle in and make new friends. You will get there at some point so don’t lose faith. Michelle
What are some of the pros and cons of living in Singapore?
I love how easy it is to make new friends and
find your tribe. There are endless food possibilities and opportunities to explore Southeast Asia. One negative: school fees! Sasha
Singapore is very safe. It has such a low crime rate and so we would never worry about leaving the door unlocked or ordering deliveries to our door and leaving them there all day long. While the country is small, there’s still a lot to explore. As an expat, you’ll be seen as a foreigner of Singapore. Locals refer to us as “ ang moh ” and it can sometimes feel like a bit of an “us and them” situation. Danielle
It’s very multicultural. People are respectful and understanding of different cultural and religious backgrounds. The food is amazing, no matter where you decide to eat. One downside is that Singapore is always hot and humid, which is sometimes nice, but coming from the UAE, I miss the cooler winters. Marwa
Singapore is very multicultural, which provides amazing new experiences. It has an ideal location for travelling to and exploring Asia. As a foreigner in Singapore, you may not always feel welcome. It’s no secret that a part of the population is eager to reduce the number of foreigners working in the country. I think the less-friendly approach towards foreign workers, including expats, has been increasing, or at least made to be more visible with the current crisis. Michelle
You’re able to have a pretty wonderful and privileged lifestyle here with amazing food, summer weather year-long, and the rest of the world literally being on your doorstep from Changi Airport. I find it hard to pick up negatives specific to being an expat here in Singapore as it would be the same everywhere, but it can be hard missing the important events back home (especially being away from home in the current COVID-19 climate). The expat community here is strong and we rally around one another since we are all in the same boat. Catherine
My family and I have lived in Sydney and London. And there comes a harsh reality to living in these cities, especially in London. So, my first positive point of living in Singapore is that life is easy here as you can get around cheaply, have help with your kids and travel safely. It means you have more time to focus on getting the most out of life without placing your energy on things that are draining. Life is safe here and people are tolerant of each other. Racism and aggression are less obvious compared to my life in London and I find this peaceful, especially if you have a mixed culture family. I don’t need to worry about things in the same way as back home. However, this is also a negative aspect. I often feel that it’s not “real life” and prepping my kids for going back to London is something I worry about. Another negative is life here is fragile as the recent COVID-19 situation has revealed. Your life is linked to your visa, so once you lose your job, your life will be disrupted like never before. Sherawaye
Singapore is an international city and there are people from all over the word in our condo, school and work. The transport system is great, whether you’re travelling by car, taxi or public transport. One negative is that it’s difficult for expat children to attend local schools when on an expat pass, which means they don’t get that exposure to local school life. Alison
APPY DAYS! Keen to know all the important apps to download to your phone? We’ve got 44 of them! From food delivery to navigating public transport, our recommendations will make life in Singapore just that bit easier. FOOD & DRINK Deliveroo
Get food delivered to your door in a flash; type in your postcode to see what’s available. Foodpanda Another of the island’s food ordering apps that puts menus at your fingertips. Chope Make instant reservations at your favourite restaurants, and check prices, menus and dishes. Burrple Get clued up on the newest and hottest eateries in town, and read honest reviews. Openrice A dining guide with hundreds of restaurant listings, plus regular promotions. GrabFood Satisfy your food cravings with affordable delivery, wherever you are in Singapore. Chug Redeem drinks at various venues with a monthly subscription. BottlesXO Delivers high-quality wine and beer to wherever you are in Singapore. The Entertainer One-for-one drinks and dining at participating bars and restaurants.
SingPass Mobile Access your personal government-verified date and digital services such as SafeEntry with ease. WhiteCoat Consult Singapore- registered doctors via live video with medication delivery options available. Sistic Keen to see a show? Sistic is the largest ticketing service provider in Singapore. XE Currency Find live exchange rates for any country – handy for all the travelling you’ll be doing, once the pesky pandemic settles down! WeatherLah Accurate weather info from data collected from reliable local sources. SG Air Skies looking a little hazy? Get an air quality report for Singapore with SG Air.
Carousell An active marketplace
for secondhand products, from tech and gadgets to designer handbags. Zalora Browse local and international brands on the go, with free delivery in Singapore. Lazada Shop thousands of products across health,
beauty, home, living, electronics and more. Shopee
Another popular app for buying and selling using your phone; good for bargains.
Amazon Prime Now No time to trawl the
shops? Order endless daily essentials and gift items with this app. Qoo10 Newest products and trends from Singapore and the world at discounted prices.
TRANSPORT & NAVIGATION iChangi Up-to-date arrival and departure info so you’ll never be too early at the airport. SG Buses Locate your next bus or identify buses and routes if you’re lost with this user-friendly app. Singapore MRT Map Route Simple access to Singapore’s most updated MRT and LRT maps, plus the fastest route to your destination. EZ-Link Monitors your EZ-Link transactions and highlights available discounts. Ofo The world’s first and largest station-free bike sharing platform and mobile app. Citymapper Find real-time routes via bus, MRT, LRT, train, ferry, taxi, walking and cycling. Gothere An idiot-proof transport guide for working out the best route from one spot to another. Singapore City Guide Created by TripAdvisor, this app helps you navigate Singers – good for newbies.
TRAFFIC & PARKING Carpark SG
PROPERTY & WORK PropertyGuru
TAXIS Singapore’s best-known cab companies, Comfort and City Cab. Grab Get an estimated fare and full details of your taxi driver, and rate the journey afterwards. Gojek This new ride-sharing app aims to get you around the city faster, cheaper and better. Tada Another new app for hailing a ride, this one driven by blockchain. Compare car parking rates in the city, plus the number of available spots and more. Parking.SG Pay for parking using your mobile devices at all coupon parking car parks. SG Traffic A fast news app with traffic info on accidents and jams that might affect your drive. SG Checkpoint Traffic Shows the traffic situation at the links between Singapore and Malaysia. ComfortDelGro Easily book a taxi with
Search for all types of property in Singapore and filter by price, area and more. iProperty Another app for searching the latest listings for available real estate in Singapore. Singapore (SG) Stocks This easy-to-use app allows you to see stock activities, company exchanges and more. Dash Singapore Why withdraw cash from banks? Make transactions on the go with this app instead. FastJobsSG Looking for work? Browse part-time, temporary, freelance and holiday jobs with this app. JobsDB Another job-search app providing a wide range of work opportunities and vacancies. Jobstreet Jobs on offer from over 230,000 employers in Singapore and the region.
MyTransport Singapore A transportation guide
with bus routes, arrival times, taxi stands, traffic updates and more.
What are some of the must-use apps you can recommend for people moving to Singapore?
I would definitely recommend the Fave App. This app will save you a lot of money on various things. You can enjoy as much as 70 percent off at the best restaurants, cafés, salons, spas, gyms and
Citymapper: it shows you how to get from point A to point B, and unlike other apps it also includes cycling routes. MyENV by NEA gives you reports on haze levels, dengue risk in your area, weather reports including a lightning radar, and even tells you where the nearest local hawker centre is. SP Utilities is a super convenient way to receive gas and electricity bills, and pay instantly. Maps.me is also useful for travel; you download a map of an area and then pin places to make them viewable when offline. Chope is great for restaurant bookings and discounts on dining. Carousell lets you buy and sell new and used goods. You can save the items you’re interested in and message the seller directly through
WhatsApp, Lazada, Cold Storage, FairPrice. Alison
Grab isn’t just great for transport, but for food too! Sasha
PayLah!, Deliveroo, Citymapper, ClassPass. Sherawaye
For food delivery, I prefer Foodpanda or Deliveroo. Singpass is also a must- have app when you’ve gotten all your papers in order. PropertyGuru is good for apartment searches. Carousell offers a lot of great but used stuff. ShopBack provides you cashback on some of your purchases. Citymapper usually comes highly recommended but I find that Google Maps works just fine for me. Michelle
SP Utilities, SingPass Mobile, Lazada (RedMart will be your place to go for food deliveries), SendHelper (a one-stop shop for all “handyman” type services – aircon servicing, cleaners, cooking, home repairs and more), Entertainer (discounts on food and drinks) and ShopBack (instant cashback on spend for affiliated merchants). Danielle
the app. Catherine
It was straightforward and painless. The only thing I felt uncomfortable about was signing 48-month contracts for most services; I think I would have looked at more flexible accounts with hindsight. Sherawaye
DBS were fantastic and it was all set up within an hour. Alison
Getting a bank account proved to be the most challenging as you need a phone number, which needs an address that generally requires a bank account to organise… getting the drift? After initially feeling stuck, I ended up finding M1, which offers some great pre-paid plans that didn’t require the information other providers needed. I wanted to go with DBS bank due to the sheer number of ATMs around the island and the online savings accounts available. I’m glad I persevered with getting all the necessary documents first as I have several friends who arrived at the same time as I did, got sick of waiting to have everything in line, went with another bank, and have since had frustrations around their accounts. Catherine
It was very easy, but I do work for a bank so I was able to use the bank’s address to get off the ground. That said, my husband opened a DBS account online as soon as we arrived and was able to do that using his UK details as well as our serviced apartment address. Danielle
Everything was so easy to set up and everyone was so helpful everywhere I went. Nothing was an inconvenience and I really appreciated the flexibility and support. If I had to do things over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Marwa
I think it was fairly easy and fast to set everything up. Michelle
No issues. Sasha
Movinghouse (or country) canbe stressful and disruptive. But if you can get your technology in order without any headaches, you’ll feel more settled, more quickly. SARAH and BO at Tekkie Help outline five things to prioritise. SETTING UP YOUR HOME HOW TO TICK ALL THE TECHNOLOGY BOXES
1 GETTING SEAMLESS WI-FI THROUGHOUT YOUR HOME
Black spots, intermittent service and buffering are all fairly common Wi-Fi issues in Singapore, partly due to the dense structure of the concrete and reinforced steel buildings here. There are a number of different ways to get seamless coverage at home. The best option is to have hard-wiredWi-Fi access points (routers) in strategic locations using existing data points; or, if these aren’t available, telephone sockets can usually be converted into data points. Computers and televisions can also be hard-wired into data points for maximum internet performance. Another option is a “mesh network” such as Google Wi-Fi. In the right situations,
these can be very effective. However, the mesh “nodes” must be within good Wi-Fi range of each other so they can piggyback the signal. Concrete walls can hinder this, so it may be necessary to install additional nodes in corridors and stairwells to bridge the signal between rooms or floors. But finding places with power is tricky, and costs do increase considerably when adding nodes. What next? Wi-Fi optimisation can be complex – there’s no universal solution. Ask Tekkie Help to conduct a complimentary site survey to provide recommendations to enhance your coverage.
2 SETTING UP ACCESS TO INTERNATIONAL TV
4 INSTALLING A HOME SECURITY SYSTEM Home camera systems aren’t just for deterring burglars; they also provide excellent homemonitoring for thosewhowant peace of mind when working full-time or travelling overseas. Many people install an IP camera system so they can check that children are safe at home or that the dogs are behaving! The latest technology provides the convenience of having real-time access on your phone, motion sensing, night vision and recordings of historic events. What next? Tekkie Help have a wealth of experience installing home IP camera systems, tailored to different requirements and budgets. 5 SETTING UP YOUR HOME OFFICE With many of us having to adapt to working from home, it’s essential we’re set up with an efficient and comfortable work environment. Having a stable and strong network connection will significantly enhance productivity when working from home. There’s nothing more frustrating (not to mention unprofessional!) than having conference calls frequently dropping in and out. For a home office, you should also consider printing, scanning, video conferencing, access to your company files and data backup. What next? The team at Tekkie Help can get you set up with all the right equipment, as well as provide IT support for your company too, if required.
How do you watch your beloved ABC, BBC or other channels in Singapore? Living away from home, many expats miss their favourite TV shows. And while you can watch some content on Singtel and StarHub TV, the choice is limited and the most recent shows are rarely available. The most common workaround for regional restrictions on your fave overseas content is to install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Domain Name System (DNS). Both, in their own ways, work by masking your location and making it look to the external world like your computer is actually in the UK, Australia or anywhere in the that you choose. What next? If this all sounds like jargon and you’re perplexed about finding a solution, don’t fret: Tekkie Help can come ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCE You want to really experience music and video – not just see and hear it! Whether it’s being able to listen to music in several rooms, all seamlessly controlled by your phone, or sitting out on your veranda watching your favourite movie in your outdoor cinema, there should be no limit to your imaginationwhen it comes to home entertainment these days! What next? Tekkie Help are on hand to set up your home entertainment the way you want it (or dream it!) by providing advice and supplying and configuring equipment. and have you set up in no time. 3 MAXIMISING YOUR HOME
About Tekkie Help A Gold winner in the Expat Living Readers’ Choice Awards 2020, Tekkie Help provides IT support to people at home and small-to- medium-sized businesses. For information and bookings, call Sarah or Bo at 8113 8682 or visit tekkiehelp.com. Psst… quote “Expat Living City Guide” to receive a 10 percent discount!
4 KEY QUESTIONS
If you’ve arrived in Singapore with a working spouse or partner, one of the biggest decisions you will make is whether to work here. Here are some of the factors you’ll need to consider.
1 “HOW CAN I GO ABOUT GETTING EMPLOYED?” You might decide to further your present career or perhaps to explore something new. English teachers, for example, are in perennial demand, and a short course in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) can start you on that path. Conversely, recent changes in employment laws with an emphasis on hiring local Singaporeans might mean that your skills are in less demand than they were at home. Search firms, online sources, classifieds and expat associations can all be helpful when it comes to finding work, although many jobs are found through networking. The American Association’s Career Resource Center for Excellence (CRCE; aasingapore.com/about-crce) is particularly useful, offering advice on resumes, workshops and career counselling.
2 “IS IT EASY TO START MY OWN BUSINESS IN SINGAPORE?” Many expats come to Singapore with a host of fresh business ideas; others discover an entrepreneurial streak once they’ve settled in. So, if you do have a great business idea, how do you turn it into a real-life proposition? First, you’ll need to apply for an EntrePass through the Ministry of Manpower (MOM; mom.gov.sg). This involves writing a detailed business plan and financial projections; plus, your business needs to meet certain requirements (see mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits/ entrepass/eligibility). The application fee is $70, and successful applicants are issued an Approval-in- Principle letter within eight weeks. The business must also be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA; acra.gov.sg) as a private limited company and be less than six months old on the date of application. This can be done simply online using a SingPass (apply at singpass.gov.sg). Fees for registering a company are $15 for the name application and $300 to incorporate the company. The registration is usually approved within 15 minutes for online applications. Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of the many organisations and online tools available to help you in your quest to start a business.
STEPS FOR GETTING A JOB • Make sure your resume is up to date, and tailor your references to suit the job you’re going for; these should reassure the hiring manager that you’re truly the right person for the role. Put together a portfolio showcasing your relevant skills and experience. This can be hard copy, digital or on a website. • Have all your official documents including birth certificates, personal i d e n t i f i c a t i on a nd un i v e r s i t y transcripts at the ready – Singapore- based employers will likely ask for these and you may need to provide original copies. They may also ask for a photograph with your resume. • Discover which recruiters are specialists in your field and go straight to them. See which company is posting jobs you’re interested in and call them. You’ll have a much better chance of breaking through the noise if they’ve met you and identified you as suitable talent. • Spend time searching for a job every day until you get one. Searching can be a full-time job in itself – just stay determined and active. Be realistic about salary, too – remember that Singapore’s low tax rate will often offset a lower base salary. • Attend interviews, even if you’re not 100 percent sure you want the position. Many companies can create roles for the right person, but they have to meet you first. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked personal questions, including your religion and whether you have children, at interviews.
3 “WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISAS AND PASSES WHEN IT COMES TO WORKING?” The Fair Consideration Framework allows affirmative discrimination and employers are required to consider Singaporeans fairly before hiring Employment Pass (EP) holders. In fact, a quota system regulates the ratio of foreign and local workers in the workplace. Dependant’s Pass holders are entitled to work once they have a Letter of Consent, which their employer can apply for. It’s a relatively straightforward process and applications are generally processed quickly by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). While it’s not impossible, those on visitor passes hoping to apply for EPs may find it more of a struggle to get a job. For a preliminary indication of the likelihood of obtaining an EP or S Pass, use the online Self-Assessment Tool prior to submitting the application. Since 2014, the MOM has placed a strong emphasis on the quality of the educational qualifications and institutions that the applicant has attended when assessing applications. 4 “ARE THERE ANY HELPFUL ASSOCIATIONS, ORGANISATIONS OR WEBSITES?” Networking can be helpful (see more on page 40); many expats find jobs through their networks rather than applying for jobs blindly. Women seeking a job or developing a business can meet and network at professional associations, including The Athena Network (theathenanetwork.com.sg) and PrimeTime (primetime.org.sg). The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) is a national coordinating body of women’s organisations and groups in Singapore that acts on their behalf (scwo.org.sg). Other useful online portals include Mums@Work, Careermums, the ANZA Career Centre, and, of course, LinkedIn.
Visit the Expat Living website (expatliving.sg) where we take a deep dive into a range of issues around employment, including the following articles and more: • Being Self-employed in Singapore • 6 Popular Job Areas for Expats in Singapore • How to Become a Permanent Resident • What You Need to Set Up a Business • Losing Your Job in Singapore • Dependant’s Passes and Divorce
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